How to Prepare for a Deposition

By eHow Legal Editor

You may be called to testify at a deposition, even if you are not involved in a lawsuit. If you are a party to a lawsuit, your lawyer should prepare you for the deposition. However, if you are representing yourself or if you are called as a witness, you will benefit from knowing what to expect and how to behave at your deposition.

Remember a deposition is part of litigation. Under most circumstances, your deposition has been scheduled as part of discovery. This means your testimony is being used to learn the facts related to the action.

Be aware that attorneys for the parties will be present at the deposition. The parties to the litigation may be present. The attorneys will ask the questions. The parties are not allowed to ask questions during the deposition.

Be prepared to swear to tell the truth during the deposition. A court reporter will be present at the deposition. He or she will take down everything that is said during the deposition and will probably administer your oath.

Pay attention to the attorney taking the lead at your deposition. He or she will give you instructions about the deposition. Listen to the instructions carefully. If you do not understand anything the attorney says, stop the attorney and ask for clarification.

Listen to the questions being asked. Take time before responding. Think about the question and make sure you understand it before answering. If you do not understand the question, ask the attorney to clarify or rephrase the question.

Say "I do not know" or "I do not recall" in answer to the questions if that's the truth. If you do not know or do not recall the answer, say so.

Leave when the attorneys are done questioning you.